Since its debut in May 2018, Rihanna’s Savage X Fenty brand has changed the game when it comes to the lingerie market. Offering customers of all shapes and sizes the chance to look and feel pretty in their natural bodies with a wide range of trend-forward products, upon the brand’s initial launch last year Rihanna told Vogue, “Women should be wearing lingerie for their damn selves.”
With Savage X Fenty, Rihanna, who has received criticism for her “fluctuating body-type”, set out to create a diverse offering that encouraged women across the globe to feel confident and “own their own beauty” exactly as they already are. And that’s precisely what the Savage X Fenty brand has succeeded in doing; in barely a year and a half, Ri’s thriving business co-owned alongside TechStyle Fashion has gained serious credibility not only for its stylish pieces but also because the brand has baked inclusivity into its DNA, a stark contrast to the approach industry giant Victoria’s Secret has taken with its runway shows that have mainly showcased skinny, white, able-bodied models in costumey lingerie.
With size offerings including bras up to 44DD and underwear and loungewear up to a 3XL, as well as ad campaigns and social media posts that spread the brand’s message, Ri has helped usher in a new view of women’s bodies and beauty — one that is not aspirational but is actually true to life. So, when it was announced that Savage X Fenty would be staging its very own show and debuting it on Amazon Prime, the universe rejoiced.
In the shadow of the news that the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show had reportedly been canceled following transphobic comments made by the company’s CMO Ed Razek. The company has also been accused of cultural appropriation. Rihanna, the 600-million-dollar woman, who previously performed at Victoria’s Secret Fashion show in 2012, seemed determined to create her own star-studded affair where everything Savage X Fenty stands for would be turned into a 360-degree celebration.
With a red carpet prior to the show that saw everyone from Ashley Graham to Normani decked out in lingerie-inspired looks, it was clear that this would be a memorable night. The red carpet also boasted figures in the body positive community including model Paloma Elsesser, Aerie Role Model Iskra Lawrence, plus models and activists Lauren Wasser and Jillian Mercado. “You would think this is common sense to include every single woman in your runway,” Jillian told reporters, a sentiment that resonated with the occasion.
What transpired after the red carpet was something unlike anything seen before; part multi-artist concert, part fashion show, the event featured a cast of models, dancers, actors, and popular musicians who all gathered in the name of lingerie, inclusion, and Rihanna.
Surrounded by talented dancers donning black lingerie and moving their bodies in every which way, Rihanna opened the show, wearing a black see-through bodysuit with lingerie on underneath, a velvet sash, and lots of diamond jewelry. Standing on podiums like sculptures from Ancient Greece or Rome, the group posed confidently with their arms at their waists. It was a subtle and strategic way to highlight the dawn of a new worldview of beauty.
From there, models including Slick Woods, Bella and Gigi Hadid, Cara Delevingne, and dancers of all different varieties paraded across the stage in colorful lingerie ensembles. While every single moment was highly choreographed, the neon green looks stood out amongst vibrant red, rich purple, baby blue, and dark teal lingerie pieces. There were nudes and black looks that seemed equally regal and also comfortable. Some of the performers wore elaborate hairstyles, headpieces, and accessories like blinged-out earrings, necklaces, and sunglasses.
Bella wore a sunflower yellow outfit with a head covering and a cape, while Cara rocked a perfect high ponytail and a neon green look, carrying a whip. Other memorable performers and models included: Joan Smalls, Laverne Cox, Alek Wek, and Aquaria, as well as Paloma, Slick, Lauren, and Normani. In the midst of the dance numbers, there were also incredible live performances by musicians including Halsey, Migos, DJ Khaled, Big Sean, A$AP Ferg, and Tierra Whack. The show finished with an incredible finale with the models and dancers wearing Carnival-themed headpieces and participating in a massive dance number, before Rihanna walked out in a shiny, voluminous top and one-legged pants and thanked the crowd.
Sitting in the middle of the audience, it was difficult to get a real sense of the details of the lingerie pieces, which were all part of Savage X Fenty’s Fall/Winter 2019 collection. But that didn’t really matter. The show was about more than just lingerie. It was about the attitude one exudes while wearing lingerie, no matter who you are or what you look like. It was about giving anyone permission to feel sexy and themselves in lace underwear and a bra.
The event was truly history in the making, not just because of its sheer magnificence, but also because of its accessibility — on Friday, the lingerie will be shoppable and the show will stream on Amazon. While it was fantastical, the Savage X Fenty show showed us that beautiful bodies don’t have to be a fantasy and that we should celebrate our figures as they already are, not what they are not or might never be.
Originally Appeared on Teen Vogue